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Disabled Veterans Shut Out

By David Bedwell

The local cricketers in my home town had held an informal meeting and several of them decided to try to form a Hockey Club to keep them active during the UK winter.

There were however a couple of Obvious problems to overcome. Firstly they did not have a Pitch to play on and secondly there were only seven of them who actually played. The rest either had played but were still interested. From this small gathering the Royston Town Hockey club was formally formed.

This occurred in the early 1950’s. The first task was to get together enough players to make up an eleven. This proved very hard to achieve, by now word had got out to the other regional hockey playing clubs and the immediate demand for matches became irresistable. It was decided that games should be played if at first they were only friendly matches and only against teams of comparable standard.

The problem still remained how to field a Team of eleven? The part solution was to play schoolboys and that’s when my brother and I joined the original team. We both played football on Saturdays fortunately all the friendly hockey matches were arranged for Sundays.

We had a couple of practice training sessions on the edge of the cricket pitch with the men before the first of the hastily arranged friendly matches.

My first match was at Hauxton against Fisons Pest Control Social Club Sunday 2nd eleven. One of our players worked there and had arranged the match. He told us the Fisons side was made up of male and female players. Now that was a shock! But nothing compared with what match secret he kept from us until after the start of the match.

We played on their pitch which also had a Club house, Changing rooms, and a Canteen. These facilities were open every night of the week for the Fison workers.

On the walk from the changing rooms to the pitch I came alongside Fison’s Goalkeeper (remember hockey goal keepers wear enormous leg pads and gloves) walking quite slowly which I thought nothing of at the time.

The match started and very soon we were losing 1-0 our first attack forced a corner. From which our striker hit a hard shot which the goalkeeper saved. In doing so he fell over and the ball was cleared. Next thing I heard was this voice booming out “Well help me up” It was the Fison Goalkeeper shouting to his full backs. It took both of them to lift him upright. Our next attack saw our winger cut inside only to be stopped by the Keeper

blocking his shot and kicking the ball clear. On doing so he tripped over. The full backs rushed to help, and picked him up just in time as the ball came back to our winger. This time he tried to round the Keeper! Bad move! The Keeper stood his ground and over went our winger very winded and down fell the Keeper. Apologies all round and then as the keeper was lifted to his feet I heard a “Metallic clinking sound.”

At half-time our fixture arranger let his secret out. The Goalkeeper has artificial legs. He had lost both legs during 1944. He was a heroic fighter pilot who was shot down and rescued after crashing. Amazingly he has challenged the disability this terrible injury inflicted upon him to such an extent that he is a major example of encouragement to others.

The second half followed the pattern of the first with their goalkeeper again saving our goal bound shots, but now instead of only his full backs helping him up he had two opposing schoolboy players as well. We lost 3-0 and in goalkeeping circles a nil goals against are called? “A Shutout” Hence my Title “Disabled Veterans Shut Out”

My story does not end yet! After the match who do you think drove out of the car park in a flashy auto sounding his horn at some speed? Yes you are right “The Fisons Keeper” flying solo again.

David Bedwell is a Disability Access Consultant. He is a Director of Obvius Access a family operated Disabled Access Consultancy on The Gold Coast Queensland and Sydney NSW in Australia. Web: www.accessconsultant.com.au Email obviusaccess@bigpond.com

David Bedwell
April 21st 2017

Source: http://www.accessconsultant

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